Thanks to FL for these minutes. As ever you can read them as a PDF.
Minutes – Thursday 12th July 2018
Apologies: JG, JC, AL, RB, JG
Attendees: PD, FL, CC, CR, JM, CA, AE, AP, AS, AS, D
£401 current balance. Hall rental paid until September.
Paul Daly, Advocacy and Activism Officer at the Amnesty Scotland office,
came to talk to us about the three campaigns Amnesty are focusing on at
Prides across the country this year. He explained that Amnesty have
chosen to work on trans rights this year for two key reasons. Firstly,
this has been a previously neglected area. Secondly, this is an
important time for trans rights as we have an opportunity to review the
Gender Recognition Act in Scotland, which could allow trans people to
have the same rights as everyone else.
The Gender Recognition Act
The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) is the law that governs how trans
people can get their gender identity legally recognised. Under the
Gender Recognition Act 2004, it is possible to apply to a Gender
Recognition Panel and obtain a full Gender Recognition Certificate
(GRC). A person with a full GRC is recognised legally as having acquired
a new gender, and their birth certificate is changed to reflect this.
However, it does not allow for recognition of non-binary people or
anyone under 18, and has been criticised for being too lengthy, complex
and intrusive. In November 2017, the Scottish Government launched a
review of the Gender Recognition Act and Amnesty International’s
Scotland office responded. Full copies of Amnesty’s response are
What Amnesty are calling for…
We think that people should be able to decide their gender and that the
Scottish Government should scrap the need for psychiatric assessment and
the requirement to prove that a person has lived in an acquired gender
for two years. The current process is unnecessary, demeaning and counter
to a person’s freedom from discrimination based on gender identity.
We believe that the age that people can officially declare their gender
should be lowered to 16, with the potential for this to happen at a
younger age in certain circumstances.
Non-binary people feel that their gender is neither male nor female. We
believe that non-binary people’s gender status should be recognised in
Scotland. Medical documentation is particularly important for non-binary
people and our health systems should provide the highest possible
standard of healthcare for everyone. This recognition happens elsewhere
in the world. For example, Australians can use ‘X’ to record their
gender instead of the binary male or female on passports and birth
Sakris Kupila is a 21-year-old transgender activist and medical student
from Finland, campaigning to have his gender legally recognised without
undergoing the humiliating process of sterilisation and psychiatric
diagnosis required by Finnish Law.
The current requirements violate the rights of transgender people to be
free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, to have the highest
standard of health, to privacy, and to be recognised as a person before
the law. Sakris advocates for the rights of transgender people in
Finland, and as a result, has faced harassment, threats and hostility,
forcing him to take a year off from his education. Amnesty’s campaign
aims to develop a gender-recognition procedure that is quick,
transparent, based on self-determination and available regardless of
age, medical or financial status and supports transgender rights.
<img src=”http://www.glasgowwestamnesty.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/alejandra.png” alt=”” width=”878″ height=”439″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-448″ /
Alejandra is a 43 year old trans woman, human rights defender and
beautician from El Salvador. Alejandra was forced to flee her home
country following repeated attacks and sexual abuse by a transnational
gang and military officials due to her transgender identity. In November
2017 she requested asylum at the US — Mexico Border and is currently
being held by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the
privately operated Cibola County Correctional Centre in New Mexico.
Alejandra has been detained by ICE since December, where she and other
trans women complained of inadequate and unresponsive health care.
Roxana, another trans woman detained in the same facility as Alejandra,
died two weeks ago after experiencing medical complications. Her death
highlights the risks that trans asylum seekers with acute medical needs
face in immigration detention. In April, she was denied parole by ICE,
without justification to her lawyer as to why. Parole should be granted
for humanitarian reasons where the person does not pose a threat to
public safety and presents no flight risk. US immigration authorities
should immediately free Alejandra while she awaits the decision on her
Paul also asked us to look out for a comment in the Herald the following
day (13th July) regarding Alejandra and Trump’s visit.
Thank you to Paul for taking the time to come and speak to the group.
FL briefed the group on the arrangements for the upcoming Glasgow Pride
and Free Pride (14th and 15th July). There will be lots of ways to
take action at Pride this year in Glasgow –petitions, selfies for
promoting the campaigns on social media and action cards.
Other upcoming events
Friday 13th July — Trump rally. Meet at 5pm at George Square.
August — Edinburgh festival social — details TBC
Thursday 13th September — Possible death penalty themed meeting
Saturday 13th October — Amnesty Scotland Conference — will probably
be in Dundee, probable theme human rights in crisis situations (e.g.
Myanmar), may try and organise group transport.
Monday 28th January 2018 — Comedy night fundraiser at the Stand.
Thanks to MR for providing the urgent actions.
Urgent Action good news: Liu Xia free, on her way to Berlin from China
(no action required)
Urgent Action: Son of murder victim opposes execution in USA (send by 13
Urgent Action update: Imprisoned journalist goes on hunger strike in
Urgent Action: Seven people killed in Cauca, Colombia
Thursday 9th August, 7:30 PM Woodlands Methodist Church, Woodlands Road. All are welcome!